(By Robert Ho)
Perhaps the usual way one learns table tennis skills is by imitation based on watching someone else perform. The more skilled the performer being observed, the greater the chance the observer has of increasing his proficiency. When expert coaching is available, the opportunity for the neophyte to advance is greatly increased. A visual analysis of technique based on kinesiology (the scientific study of joint motion) can also be helpful. It involves identifying the movements of the chain of joints of the body involved in executing a stroke “from head to toe”. The complete kinesiological analysis of a stroke is beyond the scope of this article. Instead it will focus on a few elements of looping and one feature in particular that is characteristic of forehand looping by players from mainland China. I remember it being cited some years ago by former Italian player Massimo Constantini who coached in California in the recent past.
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